A meeting of the Indian Professional Football Clubs Association (IPFCA) decided to boycott the proposed tournament to be organised by IMG Reliance and hit out against the AIFF move to restructure the I-League, in Mumbai on Wednesday. Express was the first to reveal that a decision to not loan or sign any player associated with the tournament would be taken at the meeting, and that clubs were planning to hold a parallel tournament from January to March 2014.
“It was unanimously decided that no club will release on loan or otherwise, any player for the IMG-Reliance tournament and will also not take any IMG-Reliance contracted players on loan. Members have proposed to organise a tournament during the three-month break during which IMG-Reliance will conduct their tournament,” said a statement release by the IPFCA after the meeting.
The clubs also hit out against the move to divide the I-League in to two conferences and to increase the entry fee by ten times.
“The clubs would like to continue with the current home-away I-League format and Federation Cup. We will meet the AIFF and understand how the changes in formats would assist in the development of Indian football. It was also decided at the meeting that clubs should be taken into confidence before any changes to the rules and structure are made. The prize money should be increased proportionately to the increase in the participation fee,” said the statement.
The meeting also hinted at a serious communication gap between the AIFF and the clubs with the latter claiming that they had not been informed of any of the decisions taken at the AIFF emergency meeting.
Representatives of newly promoted clubs Rangdajed United and Mohammedan Sporting, and newly awarded franchises JSW and Mumbai Tigers were present at the meeting. Sporting Club de Goa was not represented but released a statement supporting all decisions taken at the meeting.
IMG pursuing Beckham, Henry
Some of the world’s top football stars David Beckham, Thierry Henry, Michael Owen and Raul Gonzalez could soon be seen in action during the IMG-Reliance tournament. “IMG has professional contracts with some stars like Beckham, Raul and Henry and there is a high possibility that they will play,” an AIFF official said.